For more than 10 years, weekly music and jam sessions have provided young people with an interest in music a place to explore their talents while gaining knowledge, skills and guidance from experts.
Youth music program co-ordinator Mal Osborne, who has led a variety of music programs and workshops since 2001, said he had seen the lives of young people transformed after becoming involved.
‘We’ve had so many success stories ” people who have worked behind the scenes through the EMRGE program, which aims to develop a live music scene locally, that have gone on to work in event management, to bands which have made it in the music scene,’ he said.
A recent success story, no longer able to run due to lack of funding, was The Songbirds’ songwriting and performance sessions for young woman aged 12 to 17.
Working with specialist consultants and female role models over eight weeks, local teenagers Stephanie McFadyen, Emma Hunt, Tyra Ryan, Kansas Rolls and Caitlyn McFadyen grouped together and went on to write, produce and perform the song Sarah, which was entered into the WA song of the year competition. The song highlighted common issues facing teenagers, including unhealthy relationships, bullying, self-esteem problems and binge drinking .
Each of the girls said they would have liked to continue with the program, saying it boosted their confidence, developed their music skills and introduced them to like-|minded people.
Mr Osborne said until three years ago AYR received core-funding tri-annually but now it came only in dribs and drabs. It is currently funded by City of Armadale and Hope Community Services.
The programs are held at Armadale Youth Resources’ Youth Centre The Bunker, but only has enough funds to stay open for six hours, two days a week. Mr Osborne said he would like to see the doors open every day after school.